Home > Cricket > Is Jacques Kallis the best ever ?

Is Jacques Kallis the best ever ?

It has been quite sometime I have been discussing this with my friends – Isn’t  Jacques Kallis the greatest all rounder in the world? I, for one feel that it is time we stand up and take notice of his contributions to South African cricket and cricket in general. Especially considering that he has won the man of the match on the occasion of his 150th test match, hitting a double century, taking 6 catches and 3 wickets, I thought it’s time to have a look at the numbers.

Not everyone is completely convinced though. Even the following mind boggling facts fail to impress some people.

(stats in the post are courtesy cricinfo.com. They are up to date as of 12th January 2012 and do not include data of any match played thereafter.)

1)      12912 runs in Test matches which is 4th in the all time list behind Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting – at an average of 57.02 which better than those leading him.

2)      11444 runs in ODI which is 5th in the all time list behind Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Sanath Jayasuriya, Inzamam-ul-Haq –at an average of 45.59 which is again better than those leading him

3)      274 wickets at an average of 32.51 in test matches. He is 28th in the all time list. To put things in perspective – the player just above him in the all time list is Zaheer Khan with 283 wickets at an average of 31.54

4)      267 wickets at an average of 31.76 in ODIs. He is 19th in the all time list. Again, to compare, the player just above him is Abdul Razzaq  who has taken 269 wickets at an average of 31.83

Taking more than 10000 runs and more than 250 wickets in both forms of the game is no mean feat. But there are people who say that he is not a MATCH WINNER and sometimes they do say that he is not exciting to watch and all that …

I, for one believe that a person is a match-winner or not can be easily decided by the number of MOM and MOS awards. So let’s again fall back on stats for the same.

1)      Kallis with 23 Man of the Match Awards in Test matches is the all time leader. Here, some might again argue that he had the added advantage of playing 150 matches. So I calculated the MOM/match ratio. Here, at .1533 he comes 2nd just behind Wasim Akram who has 17 MOM in 104 matches giving him a ratio of .1634 and is much higher than the more famous (now referred to as GOD sometimes) Sachin Tendulkar who has 14 MOMs in 186 matches and has a paltry ratio of .075269

2)      Kallis with 9 Man of the series awards in Tests is the second highest in all time list behind Muttiah Muralitharan with 11 MOS awards.

3)      He comes in 3rd in all time list of MOM awards in ODIs with 32 awards from 318 matches. This time though, he is only 4th in the MOM/match ratio. Vivian Richards with 31/187 (0.166), Sachin Tendulkar with a whopping 62/453 (0.137) and Sanath Jayasuriya with 48/445 (0.108) are better than Kallis who has 32/318 (0.101).

4)      With 6 MOS awards, he comes only 10th in the all time list of MOS awards in ODIs.

Averages and awards, tell you only part of the story. For a batsman to be a match-winner, at least in ODIs, he should have a decent strike rate to be in control of the innings and also SEEM to be a potential match-winner. Kallis has a strike rate of 72.88 in ODIs which I must admit is not that great. This not only makes him an un-EXCITING player but also makes people not fit him in the usual all-rounder category as all –rounders generally are sort of pinch-hitters. Wasim Akram, Abdur Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Andrew Flintoff, Paul Collingwood, Shane Watson and Shaun Pollock are some of the modern ODI players who come to my mind when we speak of the word all-rounder.

Let’s compare some of the figures.

Name Runs Wickets MoM Matches MoM/mch BA bA BA/bA B sR b sR
Watson 4186 123 15 140 0.107 43.15 29.55 1.46 89.84 36.4
Kallis 11444 267 32 318 0.101 45.59 31.76 1.435 72.97 39.5
F’toff 3394 169 14 141 0.099 32.01 24.38 1.313 88.82 33.2
Hasan 3398 121 11 122 0.09 34.67 28.68 1.209 76.51 40.3
Afridi 6893 333 27 333 0.081 23.68 33.27 0.712 114.14 43.4
Pollock 3519 297 22 303 0.073 26.45 24.5 1.08 86.69 39.9
C’wood 5092 111 14 197 0.071 35.36 38.68 0.914 76.98 46.7
Razzaq 5080 269 18 265 0.068 29.7 31.83 0.933 81.25 40.6
Akram 3717 502 22 356 0.062 16.52 23.52 0.702 88.33 36.2

*BA is the batting average, bA bowling average, B sR  batting strike rate and b sR bowling strike rate.

** Please note that the terms BA and ba and the ratio has been referenced from an article about the greatest Test all rounder. The same will be discussed later in the article.

Point to be noted here is that the Kaliis’ batting strike rate is the worst and makes him the least exciting by default.

The players have been arranged in terms of descending order of MOM /match. Also has been calculated the ratio of batting average to bowling average. Interestingly, there is a direct correlation between both these ratios with only 2 exceptions.

1)      Shahid Afridi with a very poor batting average and still not having the bowling average of the usual ‘Bowling’ allrounders has a higher MoM awards. This could probably be attributed to the fact that in spite of the poor BA/bA ratio, he has very high number of runs and wickets and a mind-boggling strike-rate. This also reflects the fact that Afridi has achieved a number of MoM awards with sudden bursts in performance unlike performing consistently like others.

2)      Another anomaly, albeit minute, is the order of Paul Collingwood and Abdul Razzak.

Now, let us take a look at test statistics. To make my job easier, I would like to make a reference to an earlier analysis done by A Tan and R Ramachandran with reference to the greatest allrounders ever.

Some ratios were looked into, the explanation for the same is described in detail in the article :-

1)      BA + 900/bA, which favours a batting all-rounder  The higher this value, the better

2)      bA + 900/BA, which favours a bowling all rounder. The lesser this value, the better

3)      BA – bA, which again favours the batting all rounder. The higher the better

4)      BA/bA, which is sort of neutral. The higher the better.

The top 3 rankers in the analysis are Gary Sobers, Imran Khan and Keith Miller

BA bA BA + 900/bA bA + 900/BA BA – bA BA/bA
Jacques Kallis







Kallis (2003)







Gary Sobers







Imran Khan







Keith Miller







Trevor Goddard







Comparing Jacques Kallis of 2003 with Gary Sobers, Kallis was already 2nd to Sobers in the 1st ratio and 3rd ratio, That is, he was better than everybody else other than Sobers in 1st and 3rd ratio.

In the 2nd ratio which favoured bowlers more, Kallis was 2nd only to Imran Khan better than Sobers, Miller and Trevor Goddard. But in the last ratio, the neutral ratio, he was the best.

Coming to the present, Kallis’s batting everage and bowling average both has gone up, which means the following –

1)      He has become better than Gary Sobers and the BEST in ratio 1

2)      SAME AS ABOVE for ratio 3

3)      As far as 2nd ratio is concerned, he is not as good as the Kallis of 2003 (mind you , this is a ratio for a bowling all rounder), but he still comes an easy 3rd behind Imran Khan and Keith Miller and is better than Gary Sobers

4)      When it comes to ratio 4, again he has come down a bit from the Kallis of 2003 but is still better than all others.

While comparing players from different eras, we have to take different matters into consideration:-

1)      The bowlers of earlier eras are supposed to be deadlier sometimes though I do not fully subscribe to this opinion

2)      The game has become more batsman friendly

But also we must note the following:-

1)      The game is now played on many more grounds and many countries unlike some of the earlier eras where you have to adjust quickly with lesser practice matches

2)      There are so many formats with the additional 20-20 thing coming in which means the players have to keep changing gears

3)      So many matches are played these days which means more practice but at the same time means more WEAR – AND  – TEAR.

The facts and figures are right in front of you. Now it is for you to decide if Kallis shoud be considered in the list of all time great all rounders or not. Or still better, is he the best all rounder ever or not.



Categories: Cricket
  1. shyam v
    March 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

    a great work man u have clearly demonstrated how jack kallis is the best in the world those who dislikes jack kallis should read this iam really a great fan of jack

  2. March 2, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    In Tests, 13128 runs @ 56.1 in batting. 288 wkts @ 32.43 in bowling.
    BA bA BA + 900/bA bA + 900/BA BA – bA BA/bA
    Jacques Kallis 56.1 32.43 83.85208141 48.47278075 23.67 1.729879741

    Just felt like revisiting the stats. As on 2nd March 2013, Kallis has gone down below Sobers in 1st and 3rd ratio owing to the batting avg. But maintained his positioned in the 2nd and 4th ratio

  3. December 31, 2013 at 1:02 am

    OK, lets look at the Test stats a final time. BA = 55.37, ba = 32.65, BA+ 900/bA = 82.93508, bA + 900/BA = 48.90429, BA – bA = 22.72, BA/bA = 1.696. WHich means Kallis’s all ratios except 2nd ratio are now worse as compared to Sobers.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

The Better Man Project ™

a journey into the depths


food for thought


For the Love of Leading Ladies

Casualstrokes's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: